A free, two-day training session is planned for June 12-13 to become a volunteer court mediator through the Early Settlement Mediation Program.

CLAREMORE – Each year dozens of Oklahomans give of their time and energy to become volunteer mediators through the Early Settlement Mediation Program, a program sponsored by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Locally, the Ottawa County District Court uses program volunteers to assist parties with cases that are disputed on the small claims dockets as well as domestic cases, such as divorce and child custody matters.

Marcy Cox, the Early Settlement-Northeast Director, has scheduled a two-day mediation training session on Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13. This training will be held on the Rogers State University campus in Claremore and will last from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. There is no cost for the training.

“Applicants must complete the 20-hour training and commit to volunteering 10 hours mediating in the local courts,” Cox said, “Our volunteers often report they find mediating a personally rewarding and life-changing experience.”

Special District Court Judge David Smith presides over the weekly small claims docket in Rogers County, where the training will take place. After working with the Program on numerous occasions, he offered an insight on how he sees the effectiveness of its involvement.

“This Program has helped the Court in many ways, in addition to helping make the community a more peaceful place to live. I am happy to have mediators attend the small claims docket and look forward to meeting the new trainees.”

One such volunteer, Walt Gasior, of Bartlesville, gave his insight on participating in the program. “Being a volunteer mediator serves the judge and the court system, the parties in their dispute and our community as a whole. It is rare that our time and talents can provide help to that many people. Because there is rarely a dull moment, mediation also pays dividends for the volunteer mediators with interesting situations, surprises - both good and bad - which provides opportunities to learn and grow. As a mediator, you have opportunities to be a part of the solution and not just a detached observer. You can and often do make a difference.”

“Mediation is a powerful tool for resolving disputes,” Cox added, “When people are empowered to make their own decisions and given the opportunity to listen to each other in a non-judgmental atmosphere, they are capable of resolving their own conflict.”

The Early Settlement Northeast program serves Ottawa County and five additional counties in Northeast Oklahoma. Persons interested in the training should contact the Early Settlement office at 918-338- 8027, or email mcox@rsu.edu. For more information about the Early Settlement Mediation Program visit www.oscn.net and click on the “Early Settlement” link.